Blogs > HNN > Kerry's Task Ahead

Oct 12, 2004 10:20 am

Kerry's Task Ahead

October has so far been a terrible month for George W. Bush. Senators of his own party and his former Iraqi administrator Paul Bremer blasted his policies in Iraq. The number of jobs created last month was less than expected. Oil prices have exceeded $54 per barrel. The report of the weapon’s inspector in Iraq found no weapons and no immediate capacity to make weapons. Even the triumph of the Afghanistan elections was marred by allegations of fraud. Bush failed to win either of the first two debates, losing one badly and at best tying the other.

According to the conventional wisdom that elections are won or lost day to day on the campaign trail, Kerry should have taken a commanding lead in the race. Yet I picked up my Washington Post this morning and saw that Kerry trails Bush by 6 points in its tracking poll, just outside the margin of error.

Surely Kerry must understand by now that it is unlikely that he can just back into the presidency by bashing the president. There is little time left to change course. In the next debate Kerry cannot just beat Bush on forensic points – everyone already knows he’s better informed, smarter, and more articulate than the president. He must take some critical issues – energy and the environment, social security and Medicare, etc. -- and make them his own, instead of debating on the Bush grounds of tax cuts and balanced budgets.

Right now the only vision in this campaign is Bush’s. Kerry has cracked and chipped that vision, exposing its flaws for those who want to see, but he has failed in the essential task of developing an inspiring vision of his own.

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David a. Cousins - 10/13/2004

Maybe it is Kerry and his ideas that are chipped and flawed.